Royal family snub Invictus Games event held by Prince Harry

The event will next be held in Vancouver, Canada.
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Prince Harry has been joined by members of his mother, the late Princess Diana’s family in London for a special Service of Thanksgiving held in London to mark “a decade of changing lives and saving lives through sport” at the Invictus Games.

The May 8 event saw thousands of onlookers gather outside St Paul’s Cathedral for a glimpse of the Duke of Sussex. 

He was joined by his uncle Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, aunt Lady Jane Fellowes and several other maternal family members, with whom he remains very close as well as Mark Dyer, a former Welsh Guards officer and equerry who acted as a mentor and “second dad” to both Harry and Prince William following their mother’s death.

Notably while only a handful of kilometres away, no members of the royal family made an appearance at the event. 

Instead, King Charles, Queen Camilla, and several other working royals attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace where 8000 guests were in attendance. 

Earlier, a spokesperson for Prince Harry confirmed that he would not be seeing his father during his May visit to the United Kingdom due to his father’s “full programme.”

“The Duke of course is understanding of his father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities and hopes to see him soon,” a spokesperson for the American-based royal shared with the media. 

Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games in 2014. (Credit: Getty)

Harry last returned to the UK in a personal capacity in early February after news of his father’s cancer diagnosis was made public.

Meghan Markle and the couple’s two young children Archie and Lilibet Sussex will not join Harry. The news comes as no surprise after the 39-year-old lost a court appeal about his access to security in the UK earlier this year.

The news comes just over two months since it was reported that the father-of-two was in talks with the UK government to bring his family with him for the event.

“Harry is very keen for his entire family to join him. It’s important for him that they show a united front and focus on building bridges with the rest of the Royal Family,” a source shared with the Express in February.

“The move to bring the Invictus Games back to Britain is seen as an opportunity for Harry and he is very keen to take it,” the unnamed source added.

In 2016, the then First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama joined forces with the Prince to support the games. (Credit: Getty)

Meghan Markle was last in the UK in September 2022 for the Queen’s funeral while the Sussex children were last in their ancestral homeland in February of that same year for their great-grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee.

As a full-time working royal, Prince Harry had automatic police security, but after stepping back from his duties in January 2020 these privileges were downgraded.

There is an ongoing legal dispute between the royal and the UK Government over the issue.

However given the same government has high hopes to bring the Invictus Games to Birmingham in 2027, the matter may soon be resolved. 

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was thrilled to host the games in his home country in 2017. (Credit: Getty)

Who founded the Invictus Games?

The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry in 2012 after he met with a group of wounded and ill military personnel who had just participated in the ‘Warrior Games’ in America.

Touched by how sport could uplift, inspire, and most importantly aid in the mental and physical recovery of former defence workers, the Duke set about to organise a similar event, but on a much larger scale. 

And thus the Invictus Games was born, the first being held in London in September 2014.

In 2018, the Duke was joined by his new wife in Sydney. (Credit: Getty)

What is the point of the Invictus Games?

According to the official website of the Invictus Games, the event was created to support the recovery and rehabilitation of participating servicemen and women. 

Through the power of sport, the annual event has been designed to help participants find the motivation to gain a new place in life, and to not let themselves be defined by the mental and physical trauma they may have suffered whilst on active service.

The 2020 games were delayed until 2022 due to the pandemic. Here, Prince Harry is joined by Princess Margriet of The Netherlands, the royal pair officially launching the upcoming games together. (Credit: Getty)

Is Prince Harry still involved with the Invictus Games?

Despite no longer being a working royal, the prince has continued to promote and support the games. 

He is currently a patron of the games, alongside Lord Charles Allen of Kensington who is Chairman of an extensive board of trustees. 

The Executive Team of the Invictus Games is currently led by CEO Dominic Reid OBE.

Harry was joined by his wife Meghan Markle once more at the 2023 Invictus Games held in Germany. (Credit: Getty)

Where will the Invictus Games be held in 2024?

After its inaugural year in London, the Invictus Games were then held in Orlando (2016), Toronto (2017), Sydney (2018), The Hague (2022), and Dusseldorf (2023).

In 2025 The Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver. 

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